Luma Tower: Glasgow’s Art Deco Gem Illuminating History

In the 1930s, Glasgow’s architects experienced a “light bulb moment” when it came to Art Deco design, and one building stands as a true embodiment of that vision. Originally built in 1938 as the headquarters of the British Luma Co-operative Electric Lamp Society Ltd, the former Luma light bulb factory is an exceptional example of well-preserved Art Deco architecture in Glasgow. This article explores the historical significance and transformation of the Luma Tower, a building that not only symbolises the city’s architectural heritage but also sheds light on its captivating past.

A stunning look at archive photos of the Luma light bulb factory in Glasgow’s Greater Govan area. Designed by Cornelius Armour and completed in 1938 it was happily saved from demolition and converted to flats in the 1990’s. Armour’s bold design must surely have been influenced by Erich Mendelsohn’s Red Banner Factory in St Petersburg.

A Beacon of Art Deco:

Constructed as the Glasgow hub for the British Luma Co-operative Electric Lamp Society Ltd in 1938, the former Luma light bulb factory proudly showcases the distinctive characteristics of Art Deco design. Renowned for its attention to geometric patterns, sleek lines, and striking aesthetics, the building represents a prime example of this influential architectural style. Today, the Luma Tower remains one of the city’s finest-preserved Art Deco structures, captivating all who encounter its timeless beauty.

Illuminating Shieldhall Road:

The workers at the Luma light bulb factory played a significant role in lighting up the surrounding area. Tests of light bulbs were conducted within the building’s unique glass tower, effectively illuminating the district in the evenings. However, during the Second World War, this practice was discontinued to prevent detection by bombers flying overhead. The Luma Tower not only brought light to Shieldhall Road but also served as a symbol of progress and innovation during a transformative era.

Preservation and Residential Transformation:

Thankfully, the Luma Tower escaped the threat of demolition, allowing its remarkable architectural legacy to endure. In 1996, the building underwent a transformation, transitioning from an industrial factory to a residential complex. The thoughtful redevelopment ensured the preservation of the tower’s Art Deco features, honouring its historical significance while adapting it for contemporary living. The Luma Tower stands as a shining example of repurposing industrial heritage for modern-day use.

A Window into Glasgow’s History:

Beyond its architectural splendour, the Luma Tower offers a glimpse into Glasgow’s captivating past. The building represents an era of innovation and industrial progress, where the production of light bulbs symbolised the march towards a brighter future. Its transformation into a residential complex not only preserves the city’s architectural heritage but also provides residents with a unique living experience that merges the past with the present.


The Luma Tower, once a hub of light bulb production, has evolved into a captivating symbol of Glasgow’s architectural heritage and resilience. Its Art Deco design stands as a testament to the city’s embrace of innovative styles and a shining example of preserving industrial history for future generations. As the Luma Tower continues to illuminate Shieldhall Road, it serves as a reminder of the past and an inspiration for the future, casting a radiant light on Glasgow’s architectural landscape.